Embedded Linux Experts

Zebra Courage: Eilís Ní Fhlannagáin, Togán Labs

“It’s about ethics and being responsible and accountable to your co-workers and clients. It’s about being accountable to each other.”

This month, we’re discussing “courage” with the Zebra community. Eilís Ní Fhlannagáin of Togán Labs responded immediately with these thoughts.

First, let’s hear about the Zebra that you’re building.

We help companies create embedded solutions using open source tools. We demand open source license compliance. We don’t work on things we don’t truly believe in. As CTO, I encourage people to contribute heavily to the open source projects we work on, and there is an expectation that all of our people, even those outside of engineering, will contribute.

I think the thing I’m working on most is giving people the understanding that they’re not “resources,” they’re humans. If I want my co-workers to innovate, then I need to give them the personal tools to do that, be it work from home, flex time, open salaries, non-c level employee representation on the board, and a diverse workforce (50% of engineering is women).

With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, we didn’t need to implement work from home policies since we all do that already. We didn’t need to implement flex time policies for people to take care of their kids as the schools are now closed. We already had them. The only things we had to do was remind people of them and ask those of us who do go to a co-working space to stop doing so.

What does courage mean to you, specifically as a Zebra?

It’s about choosing to do the right thing when it’s difficult to, when the wrong thing to do would be easier but morally questionable even though the wrong path might be easier. It’s about ethics and being responsible and accountable to your co-workers and clients. It’s about being accountable to each other.

What are some times in your business that you’ve had to be most courageous? What did you learn from them?

Giving 30% of our company shares to our co-workers. Giving up control is hard, but it’s the right thing to do and in the end, it gives people a sense of ownership of the company.

This article was first published on Zebras Unite (… a founder-created and founder-led movement.) here: https://zebrasunite.coop/blog/2020/3/zebra-courage-eils-n-fhlannagin

Photo by sutirta budiman on Unsplash

About the author


Partner and collaboration strategist at Age of Peers. Yoga Every Damn Day! Visit my blog at http://ben.vanten.de

By benvantende
Embedded Linux Experts

Recent Posts